Childbirth. Feminism. Dresses with pockets. There are so many joys that come with being a woman. Yet, once a month, it’s easy not to feel that way. Our periods can make us achy, tired, emotional and bloated — all feelings that are even worse if we don’t have a tried-and-true feminine hygiene product to help us through the week.
If you have yet to decide whether you prefer tampons or pads, don’t worry: There are pros and cons to each option, and depending on your lifestyle, one could suit you much more than the other. Of course, it’s up to you to make that call, but we want to help.
Here are some of the major pros and cons of each option for you to consider before choosing the best one for you.
Because you’ll insert your tampon directly into your vagina, it will absorb your period from the inside. As such, you won’t feel any moisture from your menstruation, which you might be able to feel with pads, as they catch your flow on the outside.
The tampon’s position also makes it hard to feel as you go about your day. Again, this is especially great news if you’re super-active. You can work out to your heart’s content without feeling your tampon or moving it out of place, as you would likely do with a pad.
Wearing tampons gives you a lot more freedom as to the undies you can wear during your period, and, therefore, the clothes you can wear, too. With a pad, you need a full brief or boyshort so the adhesive has something to cling to.
Pads are the safer option for overnight or long-term wear. So, if you plan to catch up on Z’s or otherwise fear you might not be able to change your tampon for a while, grab a pad instead.
Because pads adhere right to your underwear, they’re a great way to ensure you don’t suffer any period stains. Not only will this preserve your undies, but your pants, too — some women prefer to have this added layer of protection.
You’ll also find pads are easy and comfortable to use. For beginners, the insertion required to wear a tampon can feel uncomfortable or hard to figure out. All you have to do is stick your pad into your underwear and you’re protected.
Tampons come in a range of different sizes and absorbencies, which can make it difficult to decide which one is best suited to your period, especially if you’re a beginner. This is made even more difficult for beginners who may not be comfortable with their flow yet by the fact that it can be challenging to tell if your tampon is reaching its limit.Not to worry though — trial and error will help you figure it out over time, and you can always start off by also wearing a pantyliner as backup protection.
Beginners may also find it difficult to insert tampons properly at first. And, if you place a tampon even slightly incorrectly, it may feel uncomfortable. Practice makes perfect, but it may put you off from tampon use at first.
Because tampons are inside your body, they can be easy to forget about. That may seem like a pro, but leaving a tampon in for too long can be dangerous. Toxic shock syndrome is a life-threatening side effect of doing so. This bacterial infection most often occurs in menstruating women, although you can avoid it by remembering to change your tampon every four to eight hours.
A pad can feel bulky and diaper-esque, especially if you have a heavy period. And, if you want to rock leggings or a form-fitting skirt, it might be possible to see the lines of your pads through the fabric.
Active women might find it uncomfortable to move around in pads, and the pad may shift if you’re very active. You don’t want to give up on your exercise, either, because it can be really helpful in soothing your aches and pains during your period. On top of that, a pad’s liquid-absorbing material means it’s impossible to wear in water, so you’ll have to use an alternative if you plan to go for a swim.
Carrying a pad to and from the bathroom isn’t subtle. You should never feel ashamed about your period, of course, but some people prefer to walk to the bathroom without cluing everyone in as to what they’re doing. Many women find it easier to do so with slimmer, pocket-sized tampons.